People often ask me what’s the ideal weight for a splitting maul.
That depends largely on the type of wood you will be splitting as well as the volume of work.
Mauls with heavier bodies and bits (heads) are more effective at splitting and blocking large blocks of wood but will tire your arms out easier.
But what is the best weight for a splitting maul? For most people, the best weight for a splitting maul is about 8 lbs. But that can easily change depending on your specific needs.
To the uninitiated, it may appear that all splitting mauls are created equal. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
How to choose the right splitting maul
As stated above, the weight of the splitting maul you decide to purchase to get the job done will be a factor based on the workload and size of the blocks.
Some folks split wood to fit into a fireplace or wood stove or splitting a lot of kindling to get fires started. Another thing you should take into consideration is where you’ll be splitting your wood. Will you be at home or out in the forest?
Splitting mauls have different weight classes. These tools normally begin as the light of four pounds and go beyond 12 pounds. As a general rule, people like to get mauls that are right in the middle, which is eight pounds.
Eight-pound splitting mauls are powerful enough to block up wood without overwhelming your body.
Types of splitting mauls categorized by weight
In this part of the article, I will talk in-depth about the various types of splitting mauls that are designed by weight. For somebody cutting up a bit of wood for a campfire or stove, a heavy-duty model isn’t necessary.
On the other hand, if you’re a serious forester, or have a large workload to get done, a lighter unit just isn’t going to get the job done.
What is the difference between a splitting maul and an ax?
It isn’t completely uncommon for ordinary folks to get splitting mauls confused with axes. The splitting maul has an entirely different design than your basic chopping or felling ax. Furthermore, it has a different purpose.
The main characteristics of splitting mauls are a duller edge with a broad, wedge-shaped head that makes it ideal for splitting wood along the grain instead of across it. Compared to an ax, there is also more momentum generated from a splitting maul when it is in use. The bit of a splitting maul also has a slight convex curve that enables a user to easily drive it into wood without becoming stuck.
4 lb splitting mauls
For occasional use, you will probably want to purchase a four-pound splitting maul. These light tools, known as the ‘Fireside Friend’ is the perfect companion to take with on a camping trip or to have in your garage or basement for cutting up the smallest amounts of kindling for the fireplace or backyard firepit.
Although small, the four-pound still has a true maul head designed to be tough and effective for all your lightweight splitting duties. As an aside, these models usually only weigh a total of 14 pounds when you factor in the weight of the handle.
8 lb splitting mauls
Eight-pound mauls such as the models designed by the Finnish company Fiskars are ideal for the casual user due in large part to the fact that they have a fiberglass handle that reduces vibration.
You can read my in-depth review of the Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb maul here.
Most eight-pound models are also sufficient enough for cleaving blocks of wood that are 12 to 24 inches in diameter.
I have to use eight-pound mauls for splitting fairly large blocks of wood. Let me tell you, with a design that allows for maximum impact when striking the wood, you save an incredible amount of energy.
The splitting maul that I used on that cold December day featured a dual head with a splitting face that made the job that much easier – even enjoyable.
There are disadvantages when using eight-pound mauls to split heavier rounds. There have been cases where users had to deliver several blows to break up stubborn wood pieces.
While being lightweight is a good thing in many instances, it can sometimes work against you by making you tired from expanding more energy to block up rounds.
12 lb splitting mauls
The heaviest splitting mauls are usually around 12 pounds (although there are some that are even heavier!). If you don’t do a lot of forestry work, you’re probably not accustomed to using one of these monsters.
But if you do need to spend a day blocking up rounds with massive diameters, there’s nothing better for getting the job done.
One of the best examples a 12-pound splitting maul that is a hot item on the market today is the Truper 32415, built by the Mexican company of the same name.
This unit is considered by many professionals to be one of the best for any wood chopping or splitting job.
Like most items, you can buy it on Amazon.com.
Splitting mauls with bits as heavy as 12 pounds are usually able to split a large-diameter log with one powerful swing – provided the user is strong enough. Needless to say, one advantage of using such a formidable model is that you are guaranteed to get solid blows that ensure the task gets completed in less time.
A word about handles
It must be said that any splitting maul – regardless of its size – will be much more effective if it has a long handle. A longer handle allows for a better splitting force. But this only works if you control it.
If the handle is not well – controlled, the user will be thrown off balance when he or she carries it overhead.
Also, handles that are as long as 27 inches have been known to throw short people off balance.
When it comes to the question of ‘what is the best weight for a splitting maul?’ there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Hopefully, this article will give you a strong insight into the different weights of splitting mauls and why some are better than others depending on the type of work you need to do. This way, you will be able to make the proper decision.